I was in the hospital, sore and perplexed at how I could have been so wrong. I’d allowed myself to become brainwashed. I had been afraid to hope, to trust my gut, so I wouldn’t be disappointed. When the home pregnancy test turned blue, I turned to Eric and said, “This is my girl!” He didn’t want me to be disappointed if it wasn’t. Boys run in his family. So I let him convince me that it wasn’t a girl, that it would be a boy, and that because the second child is usually bigger than the first, he would be at least 10 lbs. We named him Michael Jeremiah, so it was a real surprise when, after a very short, intense labor, we ended up with a small baby girl. A blue girl. She was born so fast that her oxygen levels were very low. The doctor held her up so I could see that she had indoor plumbing, and then she was whisked away to an oxygen tent. I didn’t know that then. It wasn’t until I left the hospital that I found out the nurses had called her Smurfette because she stayed blue so long.
She was 45 minutes old, and I was back in the labor room recovering because the OB staff was too busy to settle me in a regular room right that minute. I heard a baby crying down the hall, and I knew: That’s my baby. That’s my little girl. A nurse brought her to me, put her in my arms, and said, “Your husband said you’re going to breastfeed. Could you feed her so we can finish our tests?”
That’s my girl. Born hungry. That hasn’t really changed much. It’s a little known fact that her first word was “eat”. She caught onto the whole nursing thing like a champ, which was good because it gave me a chance to give her a good examination of my own. I had to peek under her hat to see the blond hair. I’d been hoping for red. I saw right away, though, that she had my eyes. I thought fleetingly of over-riding the name we’d decided on and naming her Elizabeth. I’ve always loved Elizabeths who go by Betsy, but Betsy Blanton just sounded silly. She’s glad, by the way, that I didn’t go with that!
In a lot of ways, the last 18 years have felt like forever, but it doesn’t take anything to whisk me back to that moment in the hospital, when I was feeding my new daughter. The daughter I’d known I was having but was afraid to hope for.
Happy birthday, baby. You’re a young woman now, but in my heart you’ll always be my Smurfette.